i'll learn to speak lion

Saturday morning, start of a three-day weekend, my little purple truck rolling through the lava fields of central Oregon, hot air blowing in the windows so loud it practically drowns out the stereo, bed packed to the gills with sleeping bags and folding chairs and a soccer ball and hiking boots, cab filled with me in my sunglasses singing and the AD in the passenger seat with his shirt off flipping through a map book and the AD’s daughter playing with her favorite Ironman action figure and the AD’s daughter’s fifteen favorite stuffed animals stacked on top of one cooler of string cheese sticks and soda, and here comes the high desert, here comes Madras and Metolius and Terrebonne and Deschutes, one shallow river and one deep cave and an impossible number of stars, but for right now just me and these people I love and the hot dry air and the highway. And I used to want other things from this life, I’m sure of it – but I can’t remember what they might have been.


Nine Great Things About My Truck Break-In

1. The thief left behind my stereo.

2. The thief also left behind my GPS. Apparently the fact that I had wrapped it in a plastic grocery bag was effective camouflage, despite the cord connecting the plastic bag to the cigarette lighter.

3. Less surprisingly, the thief left behind my CDs, including John Denver, Man of La Mancha, and several good mixes.

4. The only thing the thief did take was the emergency bag that I bring out on my volunteer calls. The contents included a flashlight, a bottle of water, several pens, a glue stick, hand wipes, and a hat. It also included a packet of tissues, which perhaps the thief made use of when he realized the bag did not contain a laptop.

5. I discovered the smashed-up window ten minutes before last night’s downpour – exactly enough time to find a trash bag and some packing tape.

6. I have the sort of job where I can shoot my boss an email saying “My truck got broken into – I’m taking a long lunch to get it replaced,” and he will respond, “That sucks.”

7. Halfway between the AD’s house, where the truck was parked, and my house, is an auto glass place called Apple Auto, and their office is full of apple-themed trinkets.

8. Next to Apple Auto is the Sheridan Fruit Company, where they sell very good zucchini crepes at lunchtime.

9. An hour later, I had a good-as-new window. I went back to work.

This morning I came across an article about the passengers of US Air flight 1549 – the plane that to any reasonable expectation should have disappeared under the Hudson River with everyone aboard, but which, thanks to a very talented crew and tremendous fortune, landed safely on top of the river instead. Now, five months later, the passengers are angry that cash is missing from their returned belongings; they are banding together to sue for emotional damages. I think its time for each of them to make a list.


magic the house

Winston Churchill had a daughter named Marigold. Marigold.

I wonder if I will ever have a daughter. If I do perhaps she will already come to me with a name. Maybe I will have two daughters, or three. I have a friend with three and they seem to bring her nothing but joy. Of course they are still small, and daughters – if I or this particular friend are any indication – can grow into quite a headache when we’re older. But I think if she has another baby it will be girl again, and secretly she will be pleased.

In a game of Life last weekend I filled my plastic car with little pink pegs, surprising even myself. Greg Brown has a lovely song about daughters. I guess she lives on air and sun and noodles. Greg Brown has a daughter named Pieta.

My friend in Los Angeles has a daughter who last week locked her out of the house, and this daughter is only two. She knew what she was doing. She laughed as my friend pounded on the door. My friend was furious, and proud. She does not want her daughter to be obedient. For this she endures many things.

The AD has a daughter who is eight. I’m not sure if she likes me, but I’m sure she doesn’t like the idea of me. It’s a complicated distinction to be able to make at eight, and for this I give her credit. It is strange to admire someone for their ability to not like the idea of you.

I think if I ever have a daughter, and if I get to name her, I will name her something silly and marvelous like Marigold. I will try to teach her about all the things that don’t matter and about the few things that really do. That’s what I think now. You have all these plans about what kind of parent you will be, says my friend in Los Angeles. But then you have a child, and it turns out you had no idea.

Happy mother’s day.